Dog bites can be devastating injuries for the parties that suffer them. After being bitten, emotional and physical pain are visible side effects. After this stressful period, medical bills can start to pile up from emergency room visits, stitches, and even surgery, putting further stress on the injured party. Luckily, there are several laws in California that pertain to dog bites to help protect you.
States vary by how their statutes are written, especially in the area of pets attacking people other than their owners. In California, the owner of the dog can be held strictly liable for the dog bite even if the dog never had aggressive tendencies before. In order to be responsible, the victim has to show that they were bitten and injured by the dog, that the dog was owned by the defendant, and that the bite either took place on public property or private property that the victim was on legally. If there is a handler or trainer of the dog involved in the incident, they can also be held liable if they knew that the dog was aggressive or if they were acting negligently or egging the dog on. Essentially, if the dog attacks, the owner or handler will be held liable.
There are a few things for the victim to make sure of before trying to start a claim against the dog owner. These items are called defenses, and they can be used by the defendant to show that they were either not negligent or were not liable for what the dog was doing. They include the following:
• As mentioned before, if the one handling the dog is not an owner, they must have scienter, or an intent to harm, or must have knowledge that the dog is vicious or bites, or must act negligently and without regard for the safety of the victim and others.
• The dog must bite the victim. If the dog just knocked them over and injured them that way, these statutes do not apply.
• If the dog was provoked, the victim acted negligently, or the victim assumed the risk of a dog attack, then the owner will not be held liable.
• If you were trespassing when you were bitten, the owner would be protected, and you may not be able to sue for negligence.
Luckily in California, compensatory damages are something that can be gained from a dog bite to help the pain and suffering of the victim and their family. If you were bitten by a dog in California and you want to be helped through the turmoil and pain that you have been suffering, call our personal injury attorneys in Orange County today.